AAs: Carter, Reagan and Bush (1977-1992)

President Carter: Social Rights

- Was a democrat

- Carter was popular with black voters and won a majority of black votes.  Black people had high expectations of him although his record on civil rights had been poor

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President Carter: Economic Rights

- Had to deal with severe economic problems >> AAshit by job losses and declining tax revenues meant there was less money available for federal welfare programmes

= lead to unpopular cuts often in programmes designed to help minorities

=income gap widened and unemployment remained higher among blacks 

strengthened the EEOC and ensured minority owned companies gained their fair share of government contracts and deposited federal funds in minority owned banks > however student Alan Bakke in Bakke vs Regents of University of California said he had not been admitted into medical school but lower minority candidates did >>> Supreme Court ruled in favour of affirmative action but said racial quotas were unconstitutional

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President Carter: Political Rights

- Carter renewed the Voting Rights Act and increased the Justice Department’s power over voting rights.  The number of black voters increased from 1.5 million in 1960 to 4.3 million in 1980.  Court cases against gerrymandering made elections in the south fairer.

- Black and minority appointments increased from 4% in 1977 to 9% in 1980

= Andrew Young was made ambassador to the UN and there were 14 other black US ambassadors

=His government appointed 37 black federal judges (twice as many as previously).

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President Reagan: Social Rights

- Republican

- Reagan attacked Johnson’s civil rights legislation and opposed desegregation of schools and housing.  He denied racial prejudice but right winged philosophy did not help racial prejudice

- Tried to veto the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 > this reversed the Supreme Court ruling Grove City v Bell (1984) and limited anti-discrimination laws to the programmes rather than the institution where the discrimination took place.

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President Reagan: Economic Rights

- was against welfare programmes seeing them as expensive and encouraging dependency> believed the economy would be stimulated by lower taxes and these economic improvements would eventually benefit the poor (so justifying the cuts in welfare spending which enabled lower taxes) cut taxes by 25% over three years

- 1980, black people were 11.7 % of the population but were major recipients of Aid to Families with dependent children (43%), housing subsidies (34%) and food stamps (35%)

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President Reagan: Political Rights

-  Appointed fewer blacks to the federal administration than any President since Eisenhower

- Tried unsuccessfully to prevent the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act > this law allowed the federal government to register voters in districts where 50% or more were not registered

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President Bush:

- Bush was Reagan’s Vice President and was associated with the same right-wing politics

-  He was happy to exploit the race issue > he used a television commercial linking race and crime > Black murderer, William Horton, had ***** and murdered a white woman while on prison leave > The policy of prison leave had been supported by the state governor, his Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis

Bush continued Reagan’s practice of attempting to block civil rights laws.  He vetoed a Civil Rights Bill which made it easier to challenge job discrimination as a ‘quota measure’ before later allowing it to become law 

- Replaced Thurgood Marshall in the Supreme Court with the black conservative Clarence Thomas.  Thomas was soon called ‘Uncle Tom Justice’ when he supported Supreme Court attacks on school desegregation

- Only 6.9 percent of his judicial appointments were from racial minorities

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